So, you’re an active member of the neighborhood homeowners association. You bring your elderly neighbors meals, and you pick up your neighbors’ mail when they’re out of town. You’re a regular conscientious citizen, but what about your four-legged canine family member? Is he a good neighbor? Remember, just because you’re a dog lover doesn’t mean your neighbors are too, so it’s important to make sure you take the time to ensure your pet is just as thoughtful as you are.
Despite your best human efforts, nothing can sour a great neighborly relationship faster than an unruly dog. While you may be able to drown out the noise from incessant barking, your neighbors and their sleeping children likely can’t. Or while a little running in your yard is good for some laughs and entertainment, a dog in your neighbors’ yards may upset or even frighten them.
Let’s look at six simple things you can do to make sure your dog is a conscientious citizen.
1. Don’t Let Your Dog Run Freely in Your Neighborhood
A roaming dog can mean lots of trouble. He can get lost, get attacked by another dog or wild animal, or worst yet, be struck by a car. Your dog should be confined to your property, and there’s no better way to do this than by constructing a fence. According to the folks at HomeAdvisor, it costs around $1,643 to $3,857 to install a fence.
Remember too, while a fence may seem like you’re blocking out your neighbor, Ben Franklin said, “Love your neighbor, but don’t pull down your hedge.” Meaning, you can be very fond of your neighbor and still keep appropriate boundaries.
2. Manage Your Dog’s Barking
Uncontrolled dog barking can drive even the friendliest neighbors crazy, so it’s important to get a handle on it before it becomes a problem. According to the experts at the Humane Society, there are five ways to effectively control barking:
3. The Importance of Grooming
Dog grooming isn’t just important for your pet’s health, it sets an example for your neighbors. When you pridefully show off your well-groomed and behaved pet, you’re encouraging others to love canines.
4. Establish Healthy Communications
Openly communicate with your neighbors about your pet, especially if you’re sensing trouble. Don’t be afraid to ask them for anything you need, such as keeping a spirited child away from an elderly pet who may react improperly. Likewise, ask your neighbor if there are things you can do better.
5. Help Your Dog Earn a Canine Good Citizen Certificate
Your dog can become an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen. By passing a test “designed to demonstrate good manners and acceptable behavior in everyday situations,” your dog can earn an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Certificate. The program, considered the gold standard of dog training, teaches a dog how to master 10 skills, from sitting on command to playing well with others.
6. Don’t Leave Special Deliveries
This one’s easy. No neighbor wants your dog’s messes on their yard, so pick it up.
Working on these tips should help your canine companion become a better neighbor. But even with your best efforts, neighbors still may have concerns about your pet. The best things you can do when confronted with issues is make sure to listen, keep it friendly with calm language, acknowledge and actively seek to understand their concerns, and work together to create solutions. Being a steward of good neighbor relations will go a long way to leading a happy, content existence in your neighborhood. So do your best, and make sure your pup does, too.
AUTHOR: Aurora James.
So you don't like E-collars? great! don't buy one. But don't shame people who use one. I don't care about the trainers, I'm talking about the pet owners, the ones who have actually saved their dog's lives through the proper use of the e-collar. Yes, there's a proper way to use them and if it's in no way affecting you, don't try to make people feel bad for using them.
I get it, there are people (owners and trainers included) who don't use them properly, but that doesn't mean the tool itself is flawed.
I'm not gonna give you the bullshit "It's just a tap" line. This article is not about e-collar training and myth busting. All I want to say is don't judge people because they raise their dog different than you do yours.
Some of you have been burned with the judgmental looks and comments. Don't get discouraged, be proud that you're a proactive owner/trainer. Personally I don't give two fucks what people think of me or the way I train. I'm proud of my dogs, my achievements, my dog's achievements and ALL of my equipment. I rarely get comments but when I do, my "careless" attitude stops people from bugging me. It's when you actually look guilty and make excuses that these fuckheads will keep poking at you.
"If a dog CAN be trained without e-collars, one should never use e-collars". OK, if you can get across the country, or to the next town without polluting the environment, you should just walk everywhere. Oh your vehicle makes it easier, faster and more convenient you say??? Interesting!
"E-collars inflict pain, it's inhumane!!"
Listen fuckface! unless you're a HARDCORE vegan, don't talk to me about pain or inhumane. You don't get to judge someone on what training tool they use to improve the relationship with their dog, and slap a slab of bacon and butter on your plate the next morning. If you truly care about inhumane treatment of animals, stop supporting an industry that actually thrives on the mistreatment and torture of animals. Otherwise, shut the fuck up, because you don't care about the animals, you're just a self righteous hypocrite who wants to be right.
By the way, I don't care if you're a meat eater, just don't be a hypocrite.
Rant Over! :)
Hey guys let's address one very common myth out there:
"DOGS WANT TO PLEASE"
They really don't, if you think about it, every dog has an agenda. They "want to please" because it's convenient to that particular dog in that particular scenario. In other words, they are doing whatever they can to "please" themselves.
But let's look at it from a very practical and common sense perspective: If dogs want to please, why is dog training a booming industry? Why does your average dog do things that your average pet owners needs help with?
Simple, because they don't "want to please".
In the video below and in my book I explain the difference between more biddable dogs and more independent dogs. The biddable dogs are the ones that make it seem like it's a dogs' nature to want to "please" but in reality it has little to do with that and more to do with the appeasement mechanism of its interactions in order to maintain harmony.
Just remember that if we convince ourselves that dogs in general "want to please", it would automatically put us in a state of disappointment when they are simply making mistakes or doing things dogs do that aren't very "pleasing" to us. That's when people get upset, that's when people blame the dog.
If you just look at the dog as a dog, an animal that has its own agenda, an animal that makes mistakes like any other being on this planet, then you will be less likely to take those mistakes personally.
So don't be a douche, it's not all about you, it's ultimately about them.
Hey let's cut the bullshit. There are applications in which the E collar IS supposed to HURT. Look, I'm a balanced trainer, I think e-collars are one of the best training tools out there.
"Oh...So you like to hurt dogs??!!"
No asshole! I don't!
In the conditioning phase, they can be very low stress and will even increase confidence.
I'm not here to convince anyone to like or dislike a training tool, what I want is to inform people that we don't have to pretend the e-collar is something it's not.
There are different applications for the use of the e-collar:
TEACHING: Through the use of low and recognizable levels. This IS the Low to No-stress application. YES! you force-free fanatics, it can actually be quite a happy training session.
PROMPTING: Once the dog is conditioned to the e-collar through low-levels, meaning the dog understands this type of communication. The e-collar can be used as "tap on the shoulders" application. This is not typically your pet training use however, this is more of a technique used for sport training. These prompting levels are not low (barely recognizable) and they're not high ("ouch"), they're mid-range.
PROOFING: This is done once the dog fully understands the behavior expected out of it AND it has been properly conditioned to the e-collar language. This e-collar application takes the form of a correction you would give on a training collar, it's supposed to be uncomfortable, it's supposed to be used as Positive Punishment and Negative Reinforcement (at this point in the form of avoidance conditioning). This level is not mid-range, it's high, as in "Yeah that's uncomfortable"
UNCONDITIONED PUNISHMENT: Now we're talking about painful corrections. Yes I said it, in this application I want the dog to be incredibly uncomfortable. I want this dog to go "Oh my fucking God!".
"Dude, you're an asshole!"
No! well.... yeah I am, but not to dogs! Here's why I want the e-collar to be painful! I want an incredibly negative association to something that could put its life at risk or another animal's life at risk (Snake proofing, Poison proofing, Crittering).
And if you think it's still NOT WARRANTED, then who's the asshole now?
I know this "The-Ecollar-doesn't-hurt" is more of a marketing strategy, a way to "win people over". And frankly, I do see the point of doing so when talking to a client and explaining the conditioning process, which IS supposed to be low level. But I see youtube trainers preaching over and over that the e-collar is always "subtle", "just a tap", "Low-level training" over and over, yet I have seen these very same trainers and the dogs they've worked with, that look seriously stressed the hell out for the sake of a youtube view. So which is it? are you gonna do your 5 minute magic as you blast the dog into compliance? or are you gonna regurgitate your "low level-subtle-stress free-just a tap" BS? Because you can't really have them both.
Ultimately, I think Balanced trainers are just out on a mission to try to convince people that the e-collar feels just like a feather, and I kind of see their point. People are trying to get this tool banned so I get it. But don't take it to the extreme because it just makes the rest of us look like phonies. Be clear, be honest and transparent. If someone HATES the e-collar, let them hate it! I don't care! I gave up that fight a while ago. The best way I've found to get people on board with the e-collar is to tell them the advantages and disadvantages of its use; the low-level application AND the importance of the high level applications. This is the BEST way to get someone to think for themselves and choose for themselves.
And for you Purely Positive people, don't give me this quote anymore:
"To use shock as an effective dog training method you will need:A thorough understanding of canine behaviour.
A thorough understanding of learning theory.
And if you have those three things, you don't need a shock collar."
Dr. Ian Dunbar
God! this is like your gospel! You cannot show bias against a training tool UNLESS you're proficient in its use. It's just as ridiculous as when people say things like "Clicker training is just as stressful because you have to starve the dog" or "Treat training is bad because it doesn't address relationship and makes dog shallow"
FALSE! You wouldn't accept that from people who don't know how marker training works, that's why I wont accept bias against the e-collar from people who don't understand it or are not proficient in its use. I don't care who it is!
If you still think E-collars are abusive and shut dogs down, tell me why these dogs below look so happy.
Too Much Dog?The problem with many “problem dogs” is that they chose the wrong owner!
People often go to a dog trainer because of a problem behavior. The problem behavior is often the result of a dog that has too much drive and not enough to do. People need to be honest with themselves before selecting a dog. If you don’t exercise now, a dog isn’t magically going to give you the desire to “get your lazy butt off the couch” and start training for a marathon.
I have listed several dogs on the right hand side who at one time belonged to a rescue and had very uncertain futures due to them being just a bit more dog than the average person can handle. I believe that the rescues that owned them certainly felt overwhelmed by them. As mentioned in other parts of this website, I have a huge problem with rescues that want to be in the rescue business but don't want to truly learn about dogs. I don't care how many years that you have done rescue for, it doesn't mean that you know dogs unless you are actually out there interacting with them. The challenge cases are a gift in that they are the only ones that really teach us volumes. None of the dogs listed, I would consider extreme other than my Macy. I took Macy in, because she probably would have met an untimely end in short amount of time due to who she is.
At the same time, if you want to do Schutzhund or Mondio Ring don’t get a couch potato dog. I have seen people show up at a Schutzhund field with their German Shepherd wanting to do Schutzhund with a dog that was not food motivated and had the prey drive of an overcooked spaghetti noodle. Why make a dog miserable by trying to jam a square peg into a round hole. Don’t get a puppy! Get a dog that someone else didn’t want because it had too much drive for their lifestyle. You can often find these at the pound if you look hard enough. These dogs get themselves into trouble because their owners couldn’t handle them. Rescues rarely have these dogs, because the rescues just label these dogs as being unstable because they can’t handle them. I have seen numerous cases where the rescue considered putting a dog down for that reason. The dog went on to have a happy home because someone like me persuaded them to the contrary.
I said “pound” earlier because often rescues are smart enough to not take in dogs that are super charged Tasmanian Devils. The rescues realize that these dogs have no chance of being adopted by the typical fuzzy bunny slipper wearing crowd. Sport people most often don’t go to rescues to get a dog. Law Enforcement often wisely gets good scent dogs from the pound when they have someone knowledgeable enough to make good selections. I once knew a guy that ordered a multi-generation Schutzhund German Shepherd puppy from Europe. The dog eventually decided it was fun to run after children and bite their clothing whenever they ran. The gentleman’s wife insisted that he get rid of the “aggressive dog”. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?! In my eyes they got exactly what they ordered; a dog with a bit of drive. I often advise people to buy/adopt a dog that is a bit older (young adult), so that they can see what they are getting. The common excuses I hear from people why they don’t do this, is, “We want a puppy so that we can train it, just the way we want it.” I scream back, “Nonsense! How many dogs have you trained in the past? Were all of these dogs exactly the way you wanted?”. Hand me a dog that is 5 or 6 years old and I will train it. Puppies are for people with mountains of patience, and tons of time on their hands.
If you want a high drive dog, remember that drive isn’t something you can turn off like a light switch. It is energy that exists in this dog’s every waking moment. If you don’t release some of the bottled pressure that is this dog, he will become stressed, miserable and then do things to try to relieve that stress and that my friend will make you one miserable sob.
In recent times there have been numerous rescues that adopt out Pit Bulls. These rescues will preach positive training methods only because supposedly conventional training hurts and stresses dogs out. They also become horrified at the mere mention of using a tug in training or protection sports. They claim these things will make a dog aggressive. Little do they realize that not giving these dogs outlets for “what they are”, is extremely stressful to these high drive dogs. I am the proud of owner of a dog that is high drive and some would call a Pit mix. Wrestling and mock battle are what makes her happy. Tug games give her satisfaction that gives her soul peace. I once walked this dog for 15 miles in a 24 hour period. It didn’t even put a dent in her. She could have easily gone for another 15 miles. So, how many people are going to walk 30 miles a day to bleed off all that drive. Walking a high-drive dog is not exercise. This same dog, if I play some high paced tug games, is feeling tired after 20 minutes. She has had a good work-out that tests her strength, timing, reflexes, endurance and at the same time teaches her additional obedience and self control. Best of all it dramatically improves the bond with the owner. Walking does not give you any of these things. The rescues that don’t want to become educated in things like appropriate tug play really need to leave these “gladiator breeds” (horrible term but used for lack of a better word) alone. Understand what you are dealing with or quit. Most of them don’t have anything in their mission statement about putting dogs in homes where they will be miserable. So they need to stop discarding good owners that will challenge a dog with the things they love to do. Instead they cater to the crowd that wants to park the Ferrari in the garage and leave it there. Only thing is that we are talking about is a living, breathing thing and not a piece of metal. It feels stress and discomfort from a non-eventful life that is a void when it comes to outlets.
People with high drive dogs, without outlets for the dog often seek a trainer when the built up pressures have caused the dog to engage in negative or destructive behaviors. They might try a reward based trainer initially to discover that the methods are good for teaching the dog new competition style behaviors but they do little to fix the problem behaviors. Most of these folks in desperation then reluctantly seek out someone who is a bit more “old school”. The dog receives hard corrections for infractions and eventually gives it up for as long as someone keeps him in check. I don’t have a problem with corrections. Some dogs I will agree even need very firm corrections. I however have a huge problem with this approach being all that is needed. In my opinion the dog needs outlets to make a good percentage of that negative behavior evaporate. It is all about balance.
Get a dog that matches your lifestyle, personality and energy level. Don’t try to make your dog a sport dog if it isn’t in his genes. Provide your high drive dog with outlets that challenge him. If you belong to a rescue get on board with the program. High Drive Gladiator type breeds need non-politically correct games to make them happy. Accept this and stop making dogs miserable by placing them with the fuzzy bunny slipper crowd.
-- Daniel Audet
Dan runs www.balancedtrainers.com, a website and forum committed to maintaining transparency and integrity in the balanced dog training community.